At the Battery Spencer Vista Point in Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Two towers, erect in the water. Two cables, connecting the twin sentinels. Each cable made of 27,572 little cables. Even the little ones are big as my pinky, wrapped around yours on the bench between us.

Two towers, connected by two cables, holding up hundreds of lives at once. Father, mother, child on vacation. ‘Let’s take the PCH all the way to Portland, dear.’ Tourists clutching coats close to legs one-handed, smiling while shivering, determined still to use their selfie sticks. A rail-thin boy pauses by the edge and grabs the railing, leaning far. Maybe he will plunge. Maybe he will melt back into the crowd and try again tomorrow.

He steps back; tomorrow it is. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath.

Two towers, connected by two cables made up of tens of thousands of threads. Threads which hold up an entire world; entire lives. You slip your hand away from mine.

I picture the cables snapping in two. The whole structure collapses into the bay, cables unraveling as they whip through the fog. The sea protests as rusted metal rushes in, each thread piercing a new hole. One tower remains above the wreckage.

You stand to leave. I wish he had jumped so you would have to stay. I feel the waves rush in over me.

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath.

Short storiesSamantha Gale